By now you’ve probably seen or heard about that ridiculous fat shaming video by that ridiculous fat shaming bigot. If not, consider yourself lucky. Regardless I’m not going to talk about it that much – bigot engages in bigoted troll behavior for attention, not news. What concerns me are some of the responses that I’m seeing to it by people who, in theory, disagree with the ridiculous bigot but, in practice are (inadvertently) adding to the oppression of fat people.
From my perspective the response to this could not be more simple: Fat people deserve to be treated with basic human respect because we are human. Weight-based bigotry and oppression are wrong because bigotry and oppression are wrong. Fat people have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, which includes living in a world where we do not face harassment, bullying, stigma and oppression, and it doesn’t matter why we’re fat, what being fat means, or if we could become thin by some means however easy or difficult. Period.
There were some responses to the video that I personally found almost more offensive than the original video. People talking about the experience of being fat as if their experience is everyone’s experience. People confusing and conflating fat bodies with behavior, illness, and a traumatic past, and suggesting that fat people shouldn’t be bullied because their size might not be their fault. I saw fat people saying that nobody ever wanted to become fat, that nobody would stay fat if they had a choice, and that being fat is an outward sign of transgressions committed. by fat people.
Fuck that. Fuck a bunch of that. There are definitely people who are fat for those reasons, people are lots of different sizes for lots of different reasons, that’s not the issue. The issue is suggesting that fat people must have some “approved justification” for being fat, and must buy into the idea that we don’t want to be fat and would be thin if we could, in order to be treated with basic human respect, which is bullshit.
If people want to insist on an end to weight-based oppression on the basis that their fat is not their fault (whatever the reason,) or that don’t want to be fat, they would be thin if they could, they are trying to be thin, or whatever, they can do that,, but it contributes to oppression of other fat people and they should definitely not talk about these things as if they speak for all fat people, because they do not.
I’m all for not bullying fat people. But when we suggest that some fat people don’t deserve to be bullied because they meet certain criteria, we are also (intentionally or not) suggesting that fat people who don’t meet those criteria do deserve bullying. And that’s crap.
When we say “Bullying and oppressing fat people is wrong” we are making a statement of fact that does not require any qualifiers.
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11 thoughts on “Disturbing Responses to that Fat Hate Video”
Reblogged this on I think you'll find I can and commented:
Human = deserving of basic respect. End of discussion.
Yes! I was just going to comment that Ragen is MASTERFULLY concise.
I guess I missed the fat shaming video. I count myself lucky. heheh
Another great post though, we absolutely do not need qualifiers when it comes to stating our rights as fat people to be treated with human decency and to be given the rights that non-fat people enjoy every day (and that includes not having a war against us simply because of the size of our bodies).
I didn’t watch the video, but since I did have some time on my hands, I did decide to address some people commenting about it on Monday. I got into the discussion to begin with because people claimed her “First Amendment” rights were being violated by YouTube removing it, which they clearly weren’t.
Of course, it went downhill from there. Plenty of “But some people are *good* fatties!” followed by “Yeah, but how many, really? Just a few.” and a ton of “But it’s so easy to lose weight. Everyone knows!!!” And nothing but the internet equivalent of blank stares when I suggested that it wasn’t their business no matter why someone was fat.
I asked one why she thought anyone owed it to her to live up to her standards before they could be “allowed” to be happy. She never answered.
The saddest one, though, was a guy who claimed that as a fat person who had recently been diagnosed with diabetes, he thought such videos were “helpful”. He couldn’t quite explain why, though. I felt awful for him, because it seemed like he deserved to be hated for being fat.
I’m always glad when I’ve spoken up, but just remembering it makes me tired.
I agree with you 100%, but I also think it’s not fair for fat-shaming people to say fat is a choice most of the time, and this should also be addressed because it reproduces lies. Just like what happens to LGBTTS: they should be respected no matter if being one is “genetic” or not. Even **if** one chooses to be gay, he/she must be respected, period. However, when homophobes say “homo/transexuality is just a behavior that can be changed”, this gives the opressors all the ammunition to try to ‘heal’ them (and there are some ‘psychologists’ out there who claim they can “turn gay people into straight”).
Yeah, getting bigots to accept people as they are is a huge problem. This is why people end up using qualifiers, even if they shouldn’t be necessary.
How do you unbigot people? Or at least stop their abusive behavior. Which absolutely is a choice.
Behavior is a choice. Neither sexual/romantic preferences nor physical states of being are choices.
Ah, but there is the persistent belief among some that they are choices and should be changed. That’s part of the justification for being fat that Regan talks about. The “I’m fat because of genetics so you shouldn’t bully me.” Instead of “You shouldn’t bully me.
Absolutely. It doesn’t matter if it’s a choice or not. People have rights, period. And that includes the right to live without bullying and oppression.
You are so right. A few years ago I was in a position where the world around me made me think that my fatness was fine, as long as I was trying to be thinner, by exercising and dieting, etc. This situation was one in which I felt incredibly judged and uncomfortable.
I got comments and looks when I ate dessert or crisps. I got so self conscious that I would be ashamed of the things I’d eaten, lying to my family about what I had eaten and how much exercise I had.
I am so lucky to have found your website, because it has such a healthy view of size acceptance, and equality, and such an important message. Thank you.